The Czech Foreign Ministry has welcomed the execution of the former dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein. In a statement the Ministry said his death was an important historic milestone and represented at least partial satisfaction for the families of Saddam's victims. In the short term his killing could cause instability in Iraq, but in the long term the end of the era of Saddam Hussein will move the country closer to stability and democracy, it said. Though the death penalty contradicts European values his execution should be looked at from the perspective of Iraq today, said the Foreign Ministry.
Final preparations are being made for a big New Year's Eve concert at the top of Prague's Wenceslas Square. Almost 200 singers and musicians, including Karel Gott, are set to take part in the event, entitled Mejdan roku (Party of the Year). Organisers say they expect around 50,000 people to attend the show, which is being broadcast live on television.
A Russian man who caused a plane to make an emergency landing in Prague has been remanded in custody. Yevgenii Dogayev has been charged with threatening air space security and breaching aviation regulations. On Thursday Mr Dogayev, who witnesses said was drunk, attempted to enter the cockpit of a plane flying from Moscow to Geneva before being tackled and tied up by fellow passengers. He faces up to 15 years in prison if found guily.
Some 33,000 pupils suffered injuries at school during the last academic year, according to figures just released by the Czech schools inspectors body. Two-thirds of those injuries were sustained at primary schools. A spokesperson for the inspectors organisation told Lidove noviny it was difficult to say whether the figures are high, as the survey had been carried out for the first time.
The lawyer for a hospital orderly who killed eight patients has said a definitive ruling has not yet been made regarding his client's sanity. Media reports on Friday suggested Petr Zelenka had been deemed sane and therefore responsible for his actions. However, lawyer Jan Herout told Saturday's Pravo that the speed of the assessment suggested it was dubious, adding that his client had the right to a second opinion. Mr Zelenka admitted in early December to using a blood-thinning drug to kill eight patients at a hospital in Havlickuv Brod, east Bohemia.
Documentary film maker Helena Trestikova is likely to be named culture
minister in a government currently being formed by Civic Democrat
leader Mirek Topolanek, the website Ceska media reported. Ms Trestikova
would represent the Christian Democrats in the coalition, which would
also include the Green Party. The three parties signed a coalition deal
on Thursday, although the alliance is one vote short of a majority and
would need the support of at least one rebel left-wing deputy. The
grouping already lost one confidence vote.
The Czech Republic has been without a stable government since elections in June ended in stalemate.
On Thursday evening some twenty-four people from a total of twelve apartments were evacuated from their building by fire fighters after a fire broke out in the evening hours. Eight people suffered from smoke inhalation but there were no fatalities. Two are in serious condition. The fire caused an estimated 800,000 crowns in damages.
The American publishing and financial information company Dow Jones has sold its 23.5 percent stake in the Czech Republic-based firm Economia, to majority German share-holder Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt. The announcement was made on Friday. The amount Dow Jones sold for is roughly twenty million US dollars. Economia is the publisher of the well-known Czech financial daily Hospodarske noviny, as well as the business weekly Ekonom. Remaining shares in Economia are owned by management as well as by the Czech CTK news agency.
Czech ice hockey center Robert Lang helped his team the Detroit Red Wings spark a four goal third period comeback on Thursday to defeat Columbus 7 - 4. The Wings were trailing 4 - 0 early in the last frame but came back to win in part thanks to three assists by Lang to Cleary who scored a hat-trick.
Health officials have uncovered five additional cases of incidence of the listeria bacteria in a number of food products. Incidence of the bacteria in Czech territory was found to be unusually high in December. Also, traces were found in three adults and a baby that died in last month. An inspection team now has found incidence of the bacteria in a number of meat production facilities. In all, seventy-five samples were taken from various products in the region, with a number of producers banned from continuing production until given word by authorities.